"We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting-place of those who have given their lives that that nation might live."
President Abraham Lincoln
On the morning of November 19, 1863, nearly 20,000 statesmen, soldiers and citizens converged on this hill to consecrate the new Soldiers' National Cemetery. The speakers' platform was located in Evergreen Cemetery to your left.
The Hon. Edward Everett, principal speaker and former Governor of Massachusetts, took the platform at noon. His eloquent, but exhausting, speech lasted two hours.
Following a hymn, President Abraham Lincoln rose to deliver "dedicatory remarks." As the crowd strained to see and hear, Lincoln spoke deliberately and without gestures. According to some observers, the people received his prayer-like words in stunned silence. The "Gettysburg Address" lasted two minutes.
Lincoln left the platform believing his remarks had disappointed the people. As time passed, however, it became clear that his simple utterances had found a place in many American hearts - and would for generations to come.